Another week passes where the combined efforts of the established political parties, their tame journalists and broadcasters and other vested interests and pressure groups have wielded their immense national media clout in an attempt to deliver a killer blow to UKIP’s hopes. We are told that this is because UKIP must expect to receive the same robust attention as the other parties. If this were true, and those attacking UKIP were genuinely interested in exposing bigotry and extremist views, they would find much happier hunting grounds within the ranks of the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems.
Just this year alone, we have had councillors suspended by their party for making homophobic slurs, for showing an “unhealthy interest” in pictures of young children, and two more councillors suspended for incitement to racial hatred. You will not have heard of any of these cases from the national commentators that have been so vocal this week, simply because none of these suspended councillors were UKIP. They were all Labour.
All three of those cases are more worrying, disturbing and serious than anything UKIP has been smeared with. There are many more similar cases. Compare the lack of response to these stories with the blanket coverage and synthetic outrage that greet the smallest UKIP transgression. If anyone mistakes the media coverage of UKIP as balanced or fair, then they should ask themselves why much more serious cases of racism and extremism are not given the same attention. There are so many more racists, bigots and extremists in the ranks of Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems that you wonder why our self-righteous national champions of liberal thought focus on UKIP. Could it be that their outrage and spittle-flecked attacks are more politically motivated than a genuine attempt to expose bigotry and extremism, wherever it may be found?
How about the Labour councillor who is on record for believing that his mother is a 9ft green alien? Or the Labour councillor suspended for calling for an IRA bombing? Let’s not forget the Lib Dem Councillor who was jailed last year for exploding IED’s on the streets of his home town. How have none of these stories troubled the BBC News at Ten, or the Times headline writers?
If UKIP is guilty of anything then it is the core belief in independent thought that runs through the party’s DNA. This should be applauded. Should UKIP become yet another party where individual thought and beliefs are suppressed in the name of “party unity”, then they will become like the anaemic established parties, run by focus groups rather than from deeply held convictions, and would lose my vote.
The point is, as anyone with an ounce of common sense will understand, all political parties will attract supporters whose views they may not like. All political parties should therefore be judged by how they respond to these cases. All I would say is compare UKIP’s speedy response to any genuine wrongdoing to the behaviour of the established parties. Where there is a case to answer (not forgetting that the majority of accusations flung at UKIP are groundless smears), UKIP reacts swiftly and has a zero tolerance approach to any kind of bigotry or extremism. Compare this with Nick Clegg’s continued refusal to hold an inquiry into the abuse allegations against Lib Dem Cyril Smith. Probably best not to mention the ongoing Lord Rennard scandal. Or David Cameron’s conduct over the Maria Miller expenses scandal (note to The Times: Maria Miller is an example of expense abuses; how Nigel Farage spends his EU allowance is not). In this, as in everything, the arrogance of the established parties is breath-taking.
UKIP is a very young party which has attracted millions of additional supporters in a very short space of time. The arrival of UKIP as a major political party with massive popular support is the biggest political change in this country for the past one hundred years. It is hardly surprising that the vested interests of the established political parties and their supporters in the media are seeking to fling as much mud as they can. After all, they are on the wrong side of the argument on the EU and on immigration, so insults and lies are all they can fall back on in the absence of any positive alternative. Even those in the media who are not active supporters of the established parties generally have a left-leaning, ‘liberal’ mind-set, and whose idea of political balance is to give both the Tory and Labour views. Sorry folks, the political landscape has changed. Giving the Tory/Labour view is not balance, particularly when there is no real difference between them on the EU or immigration.
Be in no doubt that UKIP is the focus of an unprecedented media smear campaign. Never before have all the established political parties and their supporters united against a common enemy. They have immense spin machines, huge financial resources and unfettered access to our newspaper headlines and TV and radio news. Those running this campaign must be bewildered and apoplectic that their efforts are utterly failing to put a dent in UKIP’s poll figures.
YouGov/Sunday Times today has UKIP on a healthy 15% for the general election, and 31% for the EU elections next month (36% among those “certain” to vote). The Times in particular, having led the way in unsubstantiated and erroneous smears in recent weeks, must be dismayed that their own poll has UKIP winning the EU elections. Let’s not forget that polls, like all of our other political apparatus and assumptions, structurally underestimate UKIP support (unbelievably, when asking who you will vote for, YouGov still give you the options of “Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, Other”, with UKIP buried within “other”! On 36%!). Smears or no smears, UKIP are on track to win the next national election, a real electoral earthquake.
Next time you read an anti UKIP headline, ask yourself how many national journalists, broadcasters and newspaper editors support one of Labour, Conservatives or Lib Dems. Ask what they have to gain from attacking UKIP, thereby perpetuating the outdated, out-of-touch establishment. Then ask how many are UKIP supporters. Then read the article with that in mind, and a huge pinch of salt.